This past week, no matter the self-righteous hand-wringing from Republicans and assertions from figures like Maine’s Republican Senator Susan Collins that President Donald Trump had learned his lesson thanks to the impeachment proceedings, the president kickstarted a campaign of political retribution by firing Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman from the National Security Council. Vindman — and now former E.U. Ambassador Gordon Sondland, who was also fired — had served as administration officials when they testified against the president during his impeachment. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) denounced both Trump for this retribution and Congressional Republicans who’ve opted to pave the way for his outrageous behavior.
‘President Trump is exacting his retribution, removing those who complied with subpoenas, came forward, and testified about his misconduct. These are the actions of a man who believes he is above the law — Precisely the kind of conduct Congressional Republicans enabled.’
President Trump is exacting his retribution, removing those who complied with subpoenas, came forward, and testified about his misconduct.
These are the actions of a man who believes he is above the law —
Precisely the kind of conduct Congressional Republicans enabled.
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) February 8, 2020
Republicans have had chance after chance to rein in the president, but they’ve consistently failed. Only two Senate Republicans even voted to hear from witnesses during Trump’s impeachment trial, no matter the fact that witnesses are a key, basic element of a fair trial. Only one Republican Senator — Mitt Romney of Utah — voted to convict the president of either of the charges against him at the conclusion of his impeachment trial. (Romney voted “guilty” on abuse of power.)
And this retribution that an enabled Trump has enacted has easily dangerous ramifications. In the short term, Vindman will no longer have access to the same kind of information that he did before, which allowed him to reveal at least some of the facts surrounding Trump’s plot to bribe Ukraine into investigating the Bidens. Trump is locking things down. In the longer term, for as long as Trump remains in office, potential whistleblowers and witnesses will face a tangible threat of this kind of retaliation if they dare to come forward with any information. The Trump team even kicked Vindman’s brother out of his White House job, too!
This conduct is what Congressional Republicans have opted to support rather than take a single step of ambition.
Check out Twitter’s response to Schiff: